Battle Of Malta

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Battle Of Malta

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Certainly bringing in more supplies would have made greater strategic sense, before risking going on to the offensive and thus in turn risking the wrath of the enemy.

But the period was an eventful one. RAF forces on Malta could not afford to sit idle. They could prevent Rommel's advance, or slow it down, by striking at his supply lines.

Malta was the only place from where British strike aircraft could launch their attacks. Lloyd's bombers and a small flotilla of submarines were the only forces available to harass Rommel's supply lines into the autumn.

Only then did the surface fleets return to Malta to support the offensive. The absence of the Luftwaffe enabled the British to bring in much needed reinforcements.

The Italians were failing to prevent it. While the Regia Aeronautica was ineffective, so was the Italian Navy. A lack of oil also crippled their ability to attack the British sea-lanes.

He still maintained a healthy numerical superiority over the enemy, but he was convinced of Italian inferiority. Much to the anger of the Germans, he refused to seek out and engage the British thereafter.

British naval forces passed through to Malta, almost unchallenged. Several hundred tons of supplies, 2, soldiers and tons of medical stores reached Malta untouched, which undid all of the work of the Luftwaffe in the first four months of The supply situation was described as excellent by the autumn of With the exception of coal, fodder, kerosene and essential civilian supplies were such that an eight to fifteen month reserve was built up.

Operation Substance was particularly successful in July The supplies included spares and aircraft. Around 60 bombers and Hurricanes were now available.

No supplies were sent in August, but Operation Halberd in September brought in 85, tons of supplies, shipped by nine merchant vessels escorted by one aircraft carrier, five cruisers and 17 destroyers.

This convoy proved critical to saving Malta, as its supplies were deemed to be essential when the Germans returned in December.

In mid, new squadrons — No. Naval carriers flew in a total of 81 more fighters in April—May. By the 12 May, there were 50 Hurricanes on the island.

On 21 May No. By early August, Malta now had 75 fighters and anti-aircraft guns. Bristol Blenheim bombers also joined the defenders and began offensive operations.

Besides preparing for offensive operations and reinforcing the RAF on the island, Lloyd also rectified many of the deficiencies.

Thousands of Maltese and 3, British Army soldiers were drafted in to better protect the airfields. Even technical staff, clerks and flight crews helped when required.

Dispersal strips were built, repair shops were moved underground from dockyards and airfields. Underground shelters were also created in the belief that the Luftwaffe would soon return.

On 26 July, a night attack by Italian fast attack craft of the elite Decima Flottiglia MAS unit, was beaten off with heavy losses by the island's coastal artillery.

The Hurricane II was the backbone of the fighter defence. The Allies were able to launch offensive operations from Malta. For example, in July 62, tons of supplies was landed by the Axis, half of the figure in June.

Ultra intercepts confirmed that 3, tons of aerial bombs, 4, tons of ammunition, 5, tons of food, one entire tank workshop, 25 Bf engines and 25 cases of glycol coolant for their engines were lost.

Lloyd asked his bombers to attack at mast-height, increasing accuracy but making them easier targets for anti-aircraft defences. Losses averaged 12 percent during this time.

But that figure fell to 83, tons 27, for the Germans and by November it was just 29, tons 5, tons for the Germans , [91] from 79, sent out.

Part of the reason for this favourable outcome in November , was the arrival of the Royal Navy's Force K.

Its forces successfully destroyed an entire Axis convoy during the Battle of the Duisburg Convoy , [] which practically blockaded Libyan ports.

Among the written-off Axis cargo were precious fuel stores. The total loss of fuel amounted to 49, tons out of 79, tons. However the success did not come without cost.

Damage from the mines sank one cruiser Neptune and damaged another Aurora. Following this, and with a resurgence of the aerial bombardment of Malta, surface ships were withdrawn from the central Mediterranean in January In response to the reverses, the Luftwaffe returned in force in December to renew intensive bombing.

By 15 December, half of these vessels were either in the Mediterranean, or on their way to the Theatre.

The RAF was, however, making life difficult for the German submarines, which had to pass by the British naval and air base at Gibraltar to reach the contested waters.

Until the return of the Luftwaffe over Malta, the RAF defenders had claimed aircraft shot down from June —December , while losses were at least 90 Hurricanes, three Fairey Fulmars and one Gladiator in air combat; ten more Hurricanes and one Gladiator destroyed in accidents, and many more destroyed on the ground.

Eight Marylands, two other aircraft, three Beaufighters, one fighter variant of the Blenheim and a very large number of bombers were lost in action.

The mounting shipping supply losses affected Geisler's ability to support Erwin Rommel and his forces, which caused tension between the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe.

Geisler was to be returned to Sicily with his remaining air strength to solve the issue. However, the Germans backed down over Italian protests.

On 6 October Geisler did extend his air sector responsibilities to cover the Tripoli-Naples sea route in order to curtail losses.

Göring displayed surprising sensitivity to Italian failings while discussing the sending of German reinforcements. Göring agreed, and was willing to send 16 Gruppen to Sicily, anticipating a Soviet collapse in the east.

This level of support did not arrive. Kesselring was given this role officially on 1 December Spitfire Vc trop in North Africa.

German reinforcements were swift to arrive. They quickly eliminated Malta's striking force, which was beyond the range of fighter escort while over the Mediterranean.

In the first two months, around 20 RAF bombers and reconnaissance aircraft were shot down. The only notable triumph was the sinking of the 13,ton Victoria merchant ship.

It was one of the fastest supply ships then afloat. Over the island the defensive arm of the RAF was also put under pressure. Kesselring began with a raid on New Year's Day.

It was the 1,th raid since the war began. Of the fighters that had passed through or stayed on the island since the war began, only 28 remained.

AOC Lloyd was starting to wonder if his fighter forces could hold out. More machines were collected, and the Korps reached a peak strength of One-third of all raids were directed against airfields.

At one of the bases, Ta' Qali, tons of bombs were dropped, because the Germans believed the British were operating an underground hangar.

The usual tactic would involve a sweep ahead of the bombers by German fighters to clear the skies. This worked, and air superiority was maintained.

Only slight losses were suffered by the bombers. Around 94 per cent of the strikes were made in daylight and the Italians supported the Luftwaffe by flying 2, sorties in February and March.

The pilots told Embry that the Hurricanes were useless and that the Spitfire was their only hope. They claimed that the Germans purposely flew in front of the Hurricanes in their Bf Fs to show off the performance superiority of the Bf The squadron leaders argued the inferiority of their aircraft was affecting morale.

Embry agreed, and recommended the Spitfire be sent in sufficient numbers. The type began arriving in March On 29—30 April , a plan for the invasion of the island was approved by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini during a meeting at Berchtesgaden.

It envisioned an airborne assault with one German and one Italian airborne division, under the command of German General Kurt Student.

This would have been followed by a seaborne landing of two or three divisions protected by the Regia Marina. The Italians, in agreement with Kesselring, put invading Malta at the top of Axis priorities in the region.

However, two major factors stopped Hitler from giving the operation the green light. The first was Erwin Rommel. Thanks to Kesselring's pounding of the island Rommel had his supply lines secured.

He was able to gain the ascendancy in North Africa once again. Although Rommel believed Malta should be invaded, he insisted the conquest of Egypt and the Suez Canal, not Malta, was the priority.

The second was Hitler himself. After the Battle of Crete in May and June , Hitler was nervous about using paratroopers to invade the island since the Crete campaign had cost this arm heavy losses and he started to procrastinate in making a decision.

Kesselring complained. Hitler proposed a compromise. He suggested that if Rommel reached the Egyptian border once again in the coming months the fighting at the time was taking place in Libya , the Axis could invade in July or August when a full moon would provide ideal conditions for a landing.

Although frustrated, Kesselring was relieved the operation had seemingly been postponed rather than shelved.

Canadian fighter ace George Beurling known as the "Knight of Malta" shot down 27 Axis aircraft in just 14 days over the skies of Malta.

Before the Spitfires arrived, other attempts were made to reduce losses. Lloyd had requested a highly experienced combat leader be sent and Turner's experience flying with Douglas Bader over Europe soon meant he was qualified to lead the unit.

The Junkers Ju 88 bomber version also proved a difficult enemy. All but one reached the island. For instance, for five days in April there was just one Spitfire available to defend the island; for two days there were none.

By 21 April just 27 Spitfires were still airworthy. By that evening, that had fallen to The overwhelming Axis bombardments had also substantially eroded Malta's offensive naval and air capabilities.

Often, three to five Italian bombers would fly very low over their targets and drop their bombs with precision, regardless of the RAF attacks and heavy ground fire.

Along with the advantage in the air, the Germans soon discovered that the British submarines were operating from Manoel Island , not Grand Harbour, and exploited their air superiority to eliminate the threat.

The base soon came under attack. The vessels had to spend most of their time submerged, and the surrounding flats and residences where crews had enjoyed brief rest periods had to be abandoned.

In April, , tons of supplies that were sent to North Africa from Italy reached their destination out of a total of , Hitler's strategy of neutralising Malta by siege seemed to be working.

Between 20 March and 28 April , the Germans flew 11, sorties against the island and dropped 6, tons of bombs 3, tons on Valletta. The Germans lost aircraft in the operations.

The Allies moved to increase the number of Spitfires on the island. On 9 May the Italians announced 37 Axis losses.

On 10 May , the Axis lost 65 aircraft destroyed or damaged in large air battles over the island.

The Hurricanes were able to focus on the Axis bombers and dive-bombers at lower heights, while the Spitfires, with their superior rate of climb, engaged enemy aircraft at higher levels.

By the spring of , the Axis air forces ranged against the island were at their maximum strength.

Bomber units included Junkers Ju 88s of II. By the end of May , Kesselring's forces had been reduced to just 13 serviceable reconnaissance aircraft, six Bf s, 30 Bf s and 34 bombers mostly Ju 88s : a total of 83 compared with several hundred aircraft two months earlier.

Operation Pedestal , 11 August: A general view of the convoy under air attack showing the intense anti-aircraft barrage put up by the escorts.

After the battles of May and June, the air attacks were much reduced in August and September. The island appeared to the Axis forces to be neutralised as a threat to their convoys.

Rommel could now look forward to offensive operations with the support of the Luftwaffe in North Africa.

At the Battle of Gazala he would win a major victory while the Battle of Bir Hakeim was less successful. Despite the reduction in direct air pressure over Malta itself, the situation on the island was serious.

It was running out of all essential commodities, particularly food and water, as the bombing had crippled pumps and distribution pipes. Clothing was also hard to come by.

All livestock had been slaughtered, and the lack of leather meant people were forced to use curtains and used tyres to replace clothing and shoe soles.

Although the civilian population was enduring, the threat of starvation was very real. Malta was beginning to starve. The move was designed to split Axis naval forces attempting to intercept.

If one was caught, the other, it was hoped, would get through. Although he could afford this diversion, he could only cover the convoy with four Spitfires at one time if he wanted to provide constant cover, as the others would need to be returning and taking off after refuelling.

If Axis aircraft attacked as they were withdrawing, they had to stay and fight. Bailing out if the pilots ran low on fuel was the only alternative to landing on Malta.

The pilots had to hope that they would be picked up by the ships. It was considered insufficient to see them into Malta.

The losses of the convoy were heavy. Three other destroyers and 11 merchant vessels were also sunk. They torpedoed and sank a heavy cruiser and damaged a battleship.

Two freighters of the western convoy reached Malta and delivered supplies, making them the only ships out of a total of 17 to deliver their loads — a mere 25, tons of supplies.

A further 16 Malta-based pilots were lost in the two operations. In August, Operation Pedestal brought vital relief to the besieged island, but at heavy cost.

It was attacked from the sea, but also by air. Moreover, the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle , one cruiser and three destroyers were sunk by a combined effort from the Italian Navy, Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe.

Nevertheless, the operation was vital in bringing in much-needed war materials and supplies.

The surface fleets were not the only supply line to Malta. British submarines also made a substantial effort. One submarine, HMS Clyde , was converted into an underwater supply ship.

It weighed 2, tons and could reach 18 knots on the surface. She could not go as deep or dive as quickly as the T and U Class types, but it still made nine supply missions to Malta, which was more than any other vessel of its type.

The ability of the submarine to carry large loads enabled it to be of great value in the campaign to lift the siege. It was felt that a man with past experience of fighter defence operations was needed.

For some reason, the Air Staff did not choose to do this earlier, when the bombing ceased in , and the RAF forces on Malta became primarily fighter-armed while the principal aim changed to one of air defence.

Park arrived on 14 July by flying boat. He landed in the midst of a raid despite the fact Lloyd had specifically requested he circle the Harbour until it had passed.

Lloyd met Park and admonished him for taking an unnecessary risk. Park had faced Kesselring before during the Battle of Britain.

During that battle, Park had advocated sending small numbers of fighters into battle to meet the enemy. There were three fundamental reasons for this.

First, there would always be fighters in the air covering those on the ground if one did not send their entire force to engage at once.

Second, small numbers were quicker to position and easier to move around. Third, the preservation of his force was critical.

The fewer fighters he had in the air he advocated 16 at most , the smaller target the numerically superior enemy would have.

Over Malta he reversed these tactics owing to changed circumstances. With plenty of Spitfires to operate, Park sought to intercept the enemy and break up his formations before the bombers reached the island.

Up until this point, the Spitfires had fought defensively. They scrambled and headed south to gain height, then turned around to engage the enemy over the island.

Now, with improved radar and quicker take off times two to three minutes and improved air-sea rescue, this became possible. Using three squadrons, Park asked the first to engage the escorting fighters by 'bouncing them' out of the sun.

The second would strike at the close escort, or, if unescorted, the bombers themselves. The third was to attack the bombers head-on.

The impact of Park's methods was instant. His Forward Interception Plan , issued officially on 25 July , forced the Axis to abandon daylight raids within six days.

The Ju 87 Stukas were withdrawn from operations over Malta altogether. Kesselring responded by sending in fighter sweeps at even higher altitudes to gain the tactical advantage.

Park retaliated by ordering his fighters to climb no higher than 20, feet. While this did give away a considerable height advantage, it forced the Bf s to descend to altitudes more suitable for the Spitfire than the German fighter.

The methods would have great effect in October when Kesselring returned. HMS Splendid , photographed on 18 August , ten days after she was commissioned.

While the RAF and Royal Navy defensive operations dominated for the most part, offensive strikes were still being carried out.

Two-thirds of the Italian merchant fleet was sunk; 25 per cent by British submarines, 37 per cent by Allied aircraft.

Axis forces in North Africa were denied around half of their supplies and two-thirds of their oil. The submarines of Simpson's 10th Flotilla were on patrol constantly, except for the period May—July , when Kesselring made a considerable effort against their bases.

Their success was not easy to achieve, given most of them were the slow U Class types. Supported by S and T Class vessels, they dropped mines.

British submarine commanders became aces while operating from Malta. It was one of the few German tankers exporting oil from Romania.

The loss of the ship led Hitler to complain directly to Karl Dönitz , while comparing the Kriegsmarine unfavourably with the Royal Navy.

Dönitz argued that he did not have the resources to protect the convoy, though the escort of the ship exceeded that which the Allies could have afforded to give a large convoy in the Atlantic at that point in the war.

It was fortunate for Dönitz that Hitler did not probe the defence of the ship further. The submarine proved to be one of the most potent weapons in the British armoury when combating Axis convoys.

The estimated tonnage sunk by British U Class submarines alone was , tons, with another , tons damaged.

The island base, HMS Talbot , supplied 1, torpedoes at that time. The number fired by the 10th Flotilla was 1,, with a hit rate of 30 per cent.

The offensive was also by air. Wing Commander Patrick Gibbs and his unit, No. Rommel's position was now critical. He was starved of his supplies while the British reinforced their lines in Egypt, prior to the Second Battle of El Alamein.

He complained to the OKW that he was severely short of ammunition and fuel for offensive action. The Axis organised a convoy to relieve the difficulties.

Ultra intercepted the Axis communications and Wellingtons of 69 Squadron confirmed the Axis operation was real. Gibbs' Beauforts sank two ships and one of Simpson's submarines sank a third.

Rommel still hoped another tanker, the San Andreas , would deliver the 3, tons of fuel needed for the Battle of Alam el Halfa.

Rommel did not wait for it to dock, and launched the offensive before its arrival. The ship was sunk by an attack led by Gibbs.

The Beauforts were having a devastating impact on Axis fuel supplies which were now nearly used up. On 1 September, Rommel was forced to retreat.

Kesselring handed over Luftwaffe fuel to Rommel, but this merely denied the German air units the means to protect the ground forces, thereby increasing the effectiveness of British air superiority over the frontline.

In August, Malta's strike forces had contributed to Rommel's difficulties in trying to force an advance into Egypt.

In that month, one-third of his supplies and 41 per cent of his fuel was lost. During September, the Allies sank 33, tons of shipping at sea.

Many of these supplies had to be brought in via Tripoli, many miles behind the battle front. The lack of food and water caused a sickness rate of 10 per cent among Axis soldiers.

Two fuel-carrying ships were sunk, and another lost its cargo despite the crew managing to salvage the ship. On 25 October three tankers and one cargo ship carrying fuel and ammunition were sent under heavy air and sea escort, and were likely to be the last ships to reach Rommel while he was at El Alamein.

The three fuel-carrying vessels were sunk by 28 October. Rommel lost 44 per cent of his supplies on October, a jump from the 20 per cent lost in September.

By August , Spitfires were on hand to defend Malta, were serviceable. This was achieved using gallon ferry tanks. The ferry tanks, combined with a gallon tank in the rear fuselage, brought the total tank capacity up to gallons.

Despite the success of Allied convoys in getting through, the month was as bad as any other, combining bombing with food shortages.

In response to the threat Malta was now posing to Axis supply lines, the Luftwaffe renewed its attacks on Malta in October Over 17 days, the Luftwaffe suffered 34 Ju 88s and 12 Bf s destroyed and 18 damaged.

RAF losses amounted to 23 Spitfires shot down and 20 crash-landed. The British lost 12 pilots killed. He called off the offensive.

The situation in North Africa required German air support, so the October offensive marked the last major effort by the Luftwaffe against Malta.

The losses left the Axis air forces in a depleted state. They could not offer the air support Rommel needed at the frontline. The situation on the island was still stringent going into November, but Park's victory in the air battle was soon followed by news of a major success at the front.

At El Alamein in North Africa the British had broken through on land, and by 5 November were advancing rapidly westward. Some 11 days later, news of the Soviet counterattack during the Battle of Stalingrad increased morale even more.

The extent to which the success in North Africa benefited Malta was apparent when a convoy Operation Stoneage reached Malta from Alexandria on 20 November virtually unscathed.

This convoy is seen as the end of the two-year siege of Malta. On 6 December, another supply convoy under the codename Operation Portcullis reached Malta without suffering any losses.

After that, ships sailed to Malta without joining convoys. The capture of North African airfields and the bonus of having air protection all the way to the island enabled the ships to deliver 35, tons.

In early December, another 55, tons arrived. The last air raid over Malta occurred on 20 July It was the 3,th alert since 11 June The ship was sunk in In the tiny but densely populated island, 5, private dwellings were destroyed, 9, damaged but repairable, and 14, damaged by bomb blast.

In addition churches, 50 hospitals, institutions or colleges, 36 theatres, clubs, government offices, banks, factories, flour mills and other commercial buildings suffered destruction or damage — a total of 30, buildings in all.

Total Axis losses in the Mediterranean were heavy. Human casualties amounted to 17, personnel at sea.

This was more than reached Malta. Sign In Don't have an account? For other uses, see Battle of Malta disambiguation.

On 4 June, a party of Janissaries managed to seize a portion of the fortifications. Finally, on 23 June, the Turks seized what was left of Fort St.

According to Bosio, a lucky shot from Fort St. Angelo mortally wounded him on 17 June; according to Balbi and Sans, friendly fire from Turkish cannons while he was directing operations on Sciberras was the cause.

Elmo fell. Although the Turks did succeed in capturing St. Elmo, allowing Piyale to anchor his fleet in Marsamxett, the siege of Fort St.

Elmo had cost the Turks at least 6, men; including half of their Janissaries. Mustafa had the bodies of the knights decapitated and their bodies floated across the bay on mock crucifixes.

In response, de Valette decapitated all his Turkish prisoners and fired their heads into the Turkish camp with cannon.

By this time, word of the siege was spreading. As soldiers and adventurers gathered in Sicily for Don Garcia's relief, panic spread as well.

There can be little doubt that the stakes were high, perhaps higher than at any other time in the contest between the Ottoman Empire and Europe.

Queen Elizabeth I of England wrote: [20]. If the Turks should prevail against the Isle of Malta, it is uncertain what further peril might follow to the rest of Christendom.

All contemporary sources indicate the Turks intended to proceed to the Tunisian fortress of La Goletta and wrest it from the Spaniards, and Suleiman had also spoken of invading Europe through Italy.

However, modern scholars tend to disagree with this interpretation of the siege's importance. Sire, a historian who has written a history of the Order, is of the opinion that the siege represented an overextension of Ottoman forces, and argues that if the island had fallen, it would have quickly been retaken by a massive Spanish counterattack.

Although Don Garcia did not at once send the promised relief troops were still being levied , he was persuaded to release an advance force of some men.

After several attempts, this piccolo soccorso Italian language: small relief managed to land on Malta in early July and sneak into Birgu, raising the spirits of the besieged garrison immensely.

This article does not contain any citations or references. Please improve this article by adding a reference.

For information about how to add references, see Template:Citation. He had transported small vessels across Mt. Sciberras to the Grand Harbour, thus avoiding the strong cannons of Fort St.

Angelo, in order to launch a sea attack against the promontory using about 1, Janissaries, while the Corsairs attacked Fort St.

Michael on the landward end. Luckily for the Maltese, a defector warned de Valette about the impending strategy and the Grand Master had time to construct a palisade along the Senglea promontory, which successfully helped to deflect the attack.

Nevertheless, the assault probably would have succeeded had not the Turkish boats come into point-blank range less than yards of a sea-level battery of five cannons that had been constructed by Commander Chevalier de Guiral at the base of Fort St.

Angelo with the sole purpose of stopping such an amphibious attack. Just two salvos sank all but one of the vessels, killing or drowning over of the attackers.

The land attack failed simultaneously when relief forces were able to cross to Ft. Michael across a floating bridge, with the result that Malta was saved for the day.

The Turks by now had ringed Birgu and Senglea with some 65 siege guns and subjected the town to what was probably the most sustained bombardment in history up to that time.

Balbi claims that , cannonballs were fired during the course of the siege. Having largely destroyed one of the town's crucial bastions , Mustafa ordered another massive double assault on 7 August, this time against Fort St.

Michael and Birgu itself. On this occasion, the Turks breached the town walls and it seemed that the siege was over, but unexpectedly the invaders retreated.

As it happened, the cavalry commander Captain Vincenzo Anastagi, on his daily sortie from Mdina, had attacked the unprotected Turkish field hospital, massacring the sick and wounded.

The Turks, thinking the Christian relief had arrived from Sicily, broke off their assault. After the attack of 7 August, the Turks resumed their bombardment of St.

Michael and Birgu, mounting at least one other major assault against the town on 19—21 August. What actually happened during those days of intense fighting is not entirely clear.

West face of the seaward bastion at Fort St Angelo. The situation was sufficiently dire that, at some point in August, the Council of Elders decided to abandon the town and retreat to Fort St.

De Valette, however, vetoed this proposal. If he guessed that the Turks were losing their will, he was correct. Although the bombardment and minor assaults continued, the invaders were stricken by an increasing desperation.

Towards the end of August, the Turks attempted to take Fort St. Michael, first with the help of a manta similar to a Testudo formation , a small siege engine covered with shields, then by use of a full-blown siege tower.

In both cases, Maltese engineers tunneled out through the rubble and destroyed the constructions with point-blank salvos of chain shot.

At the beginning of September, the weather was turning and Mustafa ordered a march on Mdina , intending to winter there. However the attack failed to occur.

The poorly-defended city fired its cannon at the approaching Turks; this bluff scared them away by fooling the already demoralised Turks into thinking the city had ammunition to spare.

By 8 September, the Turks had embarked their artillery and were preparing to leave the island, having lost perhaps a third of their men to fighting and disease.

The previous day, however, Don Garcia had at last landed about 8, men at St. Paul's Bay on the north end of the island.

The so-called Grande Soccorso "great relief" positioned themselves on the ridge of San Pawl tat-Targa, waiting for the retreating Turks.

It is said that when some hot-headed knights of the relief force saw the Turkish retreat and the burning villages in its wake, they charged without waiting for orders from Asciano del Corna.

Del Corna had no choice but to order a general charge which resulted in the massacre of the retreating Turkish force.

The Turks fled to their ships and from the islands on 11 September. Malta had survived the Turkish assault, and throughout Europe people celebrated what would turn out to be the last epic battle involving Crusader Knights.

Hall of the Crusades , Palace of Versailles. The number of casualties is in as much dispute as the number of invaders. Balbi gives 35, Ottoman deaths, which seems implausible, Bosio 30, casualties including sailors.

However modern estimations from military historians using Turkish archives have put the number of casualties at 10, from combat and disease, though it is generally agreed that there were likely far more losses amongst the various volunteers and pirates, which the Turkish sources would not have noted.

Birgu and Senglea were essentially leveled. Still, 9, Christians, most of them Maltese, had managed to withstand a siege of more than four months in the hot summer, despite enduring a bombardment of some , cannonballs.

Jean De Valette, Grand Master of the knights of Malta, had a key influence in the victory against Ottomans with his example and his ability to encourage and hold together people as one man.

This example had a major impact, because the kings of Europe realized that the only way to win against the Ottomans was to stop wars between them and form alliances; the result was the vast union of forces against Ottomans at the Battle of Lepanto few years later.

Such was the gratitude of Europe for the knights' heroic defense that money soon began pouring into the island, allowing de Valette to construct a fortified city, Valletta, on Mt.

His intent was to deny the position to any future enemies. La Valette himself died in after a hunting trip in Buskett.

Ihr Passwort. Password recovery. Sign up. Ihr Passwort. Jedoch seien die Gesundheit der Spieler und des Personals von oberster Priorität:. Rainer Vollmar - 8. Sign in. Er wurde Neunter und Achter. Get help. Sign up. Hinterlasse eine Antwort Antwort abbrechen. Nach einem Deal zu fünft gingen alle fünf Spieler mit mehr als Der Battle of Malta, der Ihr Benutzername. Morgen fällt im Casino Malta der Startschuss zum Battle of Malta Das € Main Event lockt mit € an garantierten. Das Battle of Malta – Ausrichter ist das Casino Malta by Olympic Casino – macht vom - Oktober für eine aufregende Woche Poker Halt. The Air Battle of Malta | Ministry of Information. | ISBN: | Kostenloser Versand für alle Bücher mit Versand und Verkauf duch Amazon.

Battle Of Malta Video

Siege of Malta (18- May - 11-Sept, 1565) - Michael Davies

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They then began a counter-offensive and drove the British back into Egypt. But operating overseas in Africa meant most of the supplies to Axis forces would come via the sea.

This made Malta a dangerous threat to Axis logistical concerns. The British submarines failed to interdict the German ships transporting the German forces to Libya.

The damaging of the 7,ton German ship Duisburg was the only noteworthy attack. On 9 February , three submarines missed the same convoy bringing supplies to Tripoli , the principal Italian port in Libya.

The Italians deployed 54, mines around Malta to prevent it being supplied. These mines were the bane of the Royal Navy's submarines. Around 3, mines were laid off Tunisia 's coast by Italian naval forces as well.

The failure to intercept Axis shipping was evident in the figures which extended far beyond February By the start of the first German operation, Geisler had 95 aircraft and 14, men in Sicily.

Geisler persuaded the OKL to give him four more dive-bomber gruppen Groups. On 10 January, he could muster serviceable aircraft including dive and medium bombers.

By 2 January , the first German units reached Trapani on Sicily's southern coast. The first was I. This led to a notable increase in the bombing of Malta.

A Stabsstaffel of Sturzkampfgeschwader 3 StG 3 arrived. One particular target was aircraft carriers. It had played the key role in the Battle of Taranto, handing naval supremacy to the British, hence it became top of the Axis' target list.

The Luftwaffe crews believed four direct hits would sink the ship and began practice operations on floating mock-ups off the Sicilian coast.

An opportunity to attack the vessel came on 6 January. The British Operation Excess was launched, which included a series of convoy operations by the British across the Mediterranean Sea.

Some 10 Ju 87s attacked the carrier unopposed. One destroyed a gun, another hit near her bow, a third demolished another gun, while two hit the lift, wrecking the aircraft below deck, causing explosions of fuel and ammunition.

Another went through the armoured deck and exploded deep inside the ship. Two further attacks were made without result.

Badly damaged, but with her main engines still intact, she steered for the now dubious haven of Malta. The British operation should not have been launched: Ultra had informed the Air Ministry of Fliegerkorps X ' s presence on Sicily as early as 4 January.

Hits were scored on both; Southampton was so badly damaged her navy escorts scuttled her. Over the next 12 days, the workers at the shipyard in the Grand Harbour repaired the carrier under determined air attack so that she might make Alexandria.

On 18 January, the Germans switched to attacking the airfields at Hal Far and Luqa in an attempt to win air superiority before returning to Illustrious.

On 20 January, two near misses breached the hull below the water line and hurled her hull against the wharf. Nevertheless, the engineers won the battle.

On 23 January, she slipped out of Grand Harbour, and arrived in Alexandria two days later. The carrier later sailed to America where she was kept out of action for a year.

The Luftwaffe had failed to sink the carrier. They withdrew their fleet's heavy units from the central Mediterranean and risked no more than trying to send cruisers through the Sicilian Narrows.

Both the British and Italian navies digested their experiences over Taranto and Malta. The appearance in February of Messerschmitt Bf E-7 fighters of 7.

Staffel squadron Jagdgeschwader 26 26th Fighter Wing or JG 26 , led by Oberleutnant Joachim Müncheberg , quickly led to a rise in RAF losses; the German fighter pilots were experienced, confident, tactically astute, better-equipped and well-trained.

Five Hurricanes arrived at Malta in early March, another six on 18 March. On 1 March, the Luftwaffe attacks on airfields destroyed all of the Wellingtons brought in in October.

Royal Navy warships and Sunderland flying boats could not use the island for offensive operations, and the main fighter squadrons, Nos.

The flotilla had been officially formed on 8 April , in response to the need for a Malta Strike Force. This formation was to interdict Axis convoys.

Commander Lord Louis Mountbatten 's 5th Destroyer Flotilla was later ordered to merge with Mack's fleet to increase its striking power.

The strike force had considerable success, which justified basing it at Malta despite the danger from air attack. On 21 May, the force was sent to join the Battle of Crete.

It was several months before the depleted strike force returned. Further success was had by the Malta Convoys. The Axis air forces maintained air superiority; Hitler ordered Fliegerkorps X to protect Axis shipping, prevent Allied shipping passing through the central Mediterranean and neutralise Malta as an Allied base.

Around German and Italian aircraft carried out the operation, and the RAF struggled to fly more than six or eight fighter sorties. Occasionally, 12 Hurricanes were flown in from British carriers but the replacements were soon used up.

From 11 April — 10 May, Axis raids were carried out against military installations on Malta. Most of the heavy equipment in Grand Harbour was destroyed and the dry-docks could only be operated by hand.

It was many more times the tonnage dropped by the Italians, but far short of the amount dropped the following year. More than 2, civilian buildings were destroyed as opposed to only during the Italian siege.

Eventually, 2, miners and stonemasons were recruited to build public shelters but the pay was poor and the miners threatened to strike, and were threatened with conscription into the army.

The workers capitulated but instituted a go-slow, trebling the cost of the work. In April, Hitler was forced to intervene in the Balkans which led to the campaign of that name; it was also known as the German invasion of Yugoslavia and included the Battle of Greece.

The subsequent campaign and the heavy German losses in the Battle of Crete convinced Hitler that air drops behind enemy lines, using paratroopers, were no longer feasible unless surprise was achieved.

He acknowledged that the chances of success in an air operation of that kind were low; German airborne forces did not undertake any such operations again.

This had important consequences for Malta, as it indicated the island was only at risk from an Axis siege. When, in June, Hitler attacked the Soviet Union under Operation Barbarossa , Fliegerkorps X departed for the Eastern Front, and the Regia Aeronautica was left to continue its highly effective air campaign against Malta in the coming months.

Supply issues were bad, the small German force left was forced to abandon operations on 22 April By early May , the Luftwaffe had flown 1, bomber, 1, fighter and reconnaissance missions for just 44 losses.

Still, he had every intention of taking the offensive. Outside his office, in the underground headquarters at Lascaris , he hung a sign outside; "Less depends on the size of the dog in the fight than on the size of the fight in the dog".

Within a few hours Lloyd had made an inspection tour of the airfields and the main workshops at Kalafrana.

The state of the island was worse than he expected. The slackening of German air activity had allowed the number of aircraft to increase, but the RAF still had fewer than 60 machines of all types.

Maintenance was difficult. Hardly any spare or replacement parts were available—spares had to be obtained by sifting through the debris of wrecks or by cannibalising undamaged aircraft.

Furthermore, the airfields were too small; there was no heavy equipment to work with; and even the commonest sorts of tools, such as hammers and wrenches, were all but impossible to find.

All refuelling had to be done by hand from individual drums. The shelter was also inadequate, so there was little protection for what equipment they did have.

Most aircraft were clustered together on open runways, presenting tempting targets. At Kalafrana, all the buildings were close together and above ground.

The single engine-repair facility on Malta was located right next to the only test benches. Lloyd himself said, "a few bombs on Kalafrana in the summer of would have ruined any hope of Malta ever operating an air force".

Usually, the protection of air defences and naval assets on the island would have had priority. Certainly bringing in more supplies would have made greater strategic sense, before risking going on to the offensive and thus in turn risking the wrath of the enemy.

But the period was an eventful one. RAF forces on Malta could not afford to sit idle; they could prevent Rommel's advance, or slow it down, by striking at his supply lines.

Malta was the only place from where British strike aircraft could launch their attacks. Lloyd's bombers and a small flotilla of submarines were the only forces available to harass Rommel's supply lines into the autumn.

Only then did the surface fleets return to Malta to support the offensive. With the exception of coal, fodder, kerosene and essential civilian supplies were such that a reserve of 8—15 months was built up.

Operation Substance was particularly successful in July The supplies included spares and aircraft. Around 60 bombers and Hurricanes were now available.

This convoy proved critical to saving Malta, as its supplies were deemed to be essential when the Germans returned in December.

In mid, new squadrons—No. Naval carriers flew in a total of 81 more fighters in April—May. By 12 May, there were 50 Hurricanes on the island.

On 21 May, No. By early August, Malta now had 75 fighters and anti-aircraft guns. Bristol Blenheim bombers also joined the defenders and began offensive operations.

Besides preparing for offensive operations and reinforcing the RAF on the island, Lloyd also rectified many of the deficiencies. Thousands of Maltese and 3, British Army soldiers were drafted in to better protect the airfields.

Even technical staff, clerks and flight crews helped when required. Dispersal strips were built, repair shops were moved underground from dockyards and airfields.

Underground shelters were also created in the belief that the Luftwaffe would soon return. In the attack, 15 men were killed and 18 captured, and most of the boats were lost.

The bridge was never restored, and it was only in that a new one was built in its place. Lloyd asked his bombers to attack at mast-height, increasing accuracy but making them easier targets for Italian anti-aircraft defences.

Part of the reason for this favourable outcome in November , was the arrival of Force K of the Royal Navy, which during the Battle of the Duisburg Convoy sank all the ships, which practically blockaded Libyan ports.

Following the disaster and with a resurgence of the Axis aerial bombardment of Malta, surface ships were withdrawn from the central Mediterranean in January While Italian bombing was again proving successful against the British, the Luftwaffe returned in force in December to renew intensive bombing.

Eight Marylands, two other aircraft, three Beaufighters, one Blenheim fighter and many bombers were also lost. The mounting shipping supply losses affected Geisler's ability to support Erwin Rommel and his forces, which caused tension between the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe.

Geisler was to be returned to Sicily with his remaining air strength to solve the issue. However, the Germans backed down over Italian protests.

On 6 October Geisler did extend his air sector responsibilities to cover the Tripoli-Naples sea route to curtail losses.

They quickly eliminated Malta's striking force, which was beyond the range of fighter escort while over the Mediterranean.

In the first two months, around 20 RAF bombers and reconnaissance aircraft were shot down. The only notable triumph was the sinking of the 13,ton Victoria merchant ship, one of the fastest merchantmen afloat, by a Fairey Albacore of Squadron, flown by Lieutenant Baxter Ellis, on 23 January.

Over the island, the defensive arm of the RAF was also put under pressure. Kesselring began with a raid on New Year's Day, the 1,th raid of the war.

Of the fighters that had passed through or stayed on the island since the war began, only 28 remained.

One-third of all raids were directed against airfields. The usual tactic involved a sweep ahead of the bombers by German fighters to clear the skies; this worked, and air superiority was maintained.

Only slight losses were suffered by the bombers. Dobbie and the British naval and air commanders argued for modern aircraft, particularly Spitfires , to be sent to Malta.

The pilots told Embry that the Hurricanes were useless and that the Spitfire was their only hope. The squadron leaders argued the inferiority of their aircraft was affecting morale.

Embry agreed and recommended that Spitfires be sent; the type began arriving in March On 29—30 April , a plan for the invasion of the island was approved by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini during a meeting at Berchtesgaden.

It envisaged an airborne assault with one German and one Italian airborne division, under the command of German General Kurt Student.

This would have been followed by a seaborne landing of two or three divisions protected by the Regia Marina.

The Italians, in agreement with Kesselring, made the invasion of Malta the priority in the region. However, two major factors stopped Hitler from giving the operation the green light.

The first was Erwin Rommel. Due to Kesselring's pounding of the island the supply lines to North Africa had been secured.

He was able to gain the ascendancy in North Africa once again. Although Rommel believed Malta should be invaded, he insisted the conquest of Egypt and the Suez Canal, not Malta, was the priority.

The second was Hitler himself. After the Battle of Crete in May—June , Hitler was nervous about using paratroopers to invade the island since the Crete campaign had cost this arm heavy losses, and he started to procrastinate in making a decision.

Kesselring complained. Hitler proposed a compromise. He suggested that if the Egyptian border was reached once again in the coming months the fighting at the time was taking place in Libya , the Axis could invade in July or August when a full moon would provide ideal conditions for a landing.

Although frustrated, Kesselring was relieved the operation had seemingly been postponed rather than shelved. Before the Spitfires arrived, other attempts were made to reduce losses.

Lloyd had requested a highly experienced combat leader be sent and Turner's experience flying with Douglas Bader over Europe meant he was qualified to lead the unit.

All but one reached the island. By 21 April just 27 Spitfires were still airworthy, and by evening that had fallen to The overwhelming Axis bombardments had also substantially eroded Malta's offensive naval and air capabilities.

Often, three to five Italian bombers would fly very low over their targets and drop their bombs with precision, regardless of the RAF attacks and ground fire.

Along with the advantage in the air, the Germans soon discovered that British submarines were operating from Manoel Island , not Grand Harbour, and exploited their air superiority to eliminate the threat.

The base came under attack, the vessels had to spend most of their time submerged, and the surrounding residences where crews had enjoyed brief rest periods were abandoned.

Hitler's strategy of neutralising Malta by siege seemed to be working. The Germans lost aircraft in the operations. The Allies moved to increase the number of Spitfires on the island.

On 9 May, the Italians announced 37 Axis losses. About the Battle of Malta The Battle of Malta is an award-winning, mid-stakes poker tournament held annually on the Mediterranean island of Malta.

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The Great Siege of Malta